Digest this: in 2016, Indian viewers are hooked to a show where the ghar ki bahu turns in to a house fly (Sasural Simar Ka); till last month, they were also spending their nights watching a soap on icchadhaari naagin (Nagin); and very soon they will devour Kavach, a serial about a wife’s struggles to save the husband from a witch.
The idiot box keeps getting absurd and while it’s easy to mock the content on social media, it’s worrying when you actually breathe a sigh of relief when 1997 show Amanat makes a comeback on TV. Remember Lahori Ram and his seven sacrificial goats…errr, daughters?
The successful show is back after a little less than two decades on Zindagi channel, as Babul ki Duaein. Time for a recap: the show revolves around seven sisters and their father’s crippling anxiety around their marriage. When the second in line daughter falls in love, the doting father can’t handle it and in her bid to forever please the father, she agrees to marry someone else.
For five years, the show revolved around nothing but their marital ties and familial love. To be honest, however, Amanat has a few positives: it depicts a beautiful bittersweet relationship between the sisters; the help at home, the hilarious Nigora, is a family member, and not such a shadow in the background; Lahori Ram has a Muslim best friend who the family adores; and the girls drive a car. Name one show in the recent past where women are shown changing gears or manning a steering wheel. Or a serial where a Punjabi Papa has a Muslim best friend who is like the girls’ real uncle.
Amanat has its own share of problems. The greatest of them being children not rebelling against parents and society’s expectations. But at a time when Indian TV is so busy embracing superstitions and ridiculous storylines where humans turn to house flies, Amanat unfortunately stands out as the lesser evil. A late 90s show is more tolerable than what we are producing in 2016 and that itself is alarming. It’s time for production houses, actors and directors to finally rethink where Indian TV is headed.